They ensure that foodgrains at ration shops are given only to ration card holders

The Civil Supplies Department has installed bio-metric scanners at 45 fair price shops (FPS) in the city as part of a pilot project that aims at ensuring that unauthorised persons do not lay their hands on foodgrains meant for ration-card holders.

The finger impressions of citizens have now been linked to their Aadhaar cards.

“Once the fingerprints of cardholders are taken, only the cardholder and his or her family members can get foodgrains allotted to them. Any of the family members whose names are on the card can avail their quota of subsidised edibles,” said an official from the Chief Rationing Officer’s (CRO) Hyderabad office.

All nine circles, each having five FPS outlets in Hyderabad district, have been covered under the project, which was initiated in November 2011 under the Electronic Point of Service (EPOS) pilot project. The biometric machines are all linked to the servers of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Initial hurdles

However, the fingerprint-scanners did initially give problem to users because of a glitch in the government servers.

“There are three servers and even if there is an issue with any one of them, there will be a problem with the biometric machines. But, we have managed to get over the initial hiccups,” said the official.

Weak fingerprints

Old persons and manual labourers who have calloused hands record weak fingerprints that do not register with biometric-scanners.

“For such people, rations are issued by the inspector at the FPS outlets,” maintained the official.

For those without Aadhaar cards, enrolment ID numbers are sought and these are entered in the network at the FPS outlet for the cardholder to get a one-time password.

This is sent to his mobile number registered with the CRO. “In this way everyone is covered. But, most people in Hyderabad have Aadhaar cards,” the official added.

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